Students express mixed feelings about WSU dining

Andrew Linnabary

For Shocker Hall resident Makenzie Hercules, dining in Shocker Hall is lacking most days.

“Usually it’s pretty much the same food over and over again,” said Hercules, a freshman studying theater design and technology.

Food service consulting firm Envision Strategies LLC met with students, faculty and staff last week to observe the dining operations at Wichita State. Its study will assess the demand and types of changes needed to improve services at WSU dining.

Jim Herrman, associate vice-president of Student Affairs and director of the Rhatigan Student Center, said Envision is working to gather and analyze dining data; there’s no specific reason for their on-campus research, he said. WSU’s contract with Sodexo, a food service company, expires in July 2017 and the university is considering new options, Herrman said.

“Envision is on a fact-finding mission, nothing more,” he said.

Representatives from Envision could not be reached for comment.

Hercules and other students gave their opinions about food served at Shocker Hall.

“There’s days where they’ll have good stuff, but the pizza, which they serve a lot, is not very good,” Hercules said. “It’s drowning in grease. They have salad, but I think they need more healthy options. They don’t even have soup, and the food’s expensive.”

A plan with 15 meals a week costs $2,114 a semester. Other plans with more or fewer meals are available.

“I usually eat at the RSC or off campus because the food can be so bad,” Hercules said.

Caleb Snyder, an economics sophomore and Shocker Hall resident, said he doesn’t just dislike the food — he has a food allergy.

“I have a peanut allergy and half the time they forget to put ‘contains peanuts,’” Snyder said. “I’ve had four reactions because of food at Shocker Hall. Other people have complained and they’re not doing anything about it.”

Mary Eby, a criminal justice junior and Shocker Hall resident, said it comes down to which cooks are working.

“I think when certain chefs prepare food it’s OK. There’s certain chefs that, when I see them, I’m going to get whatever they’re cooking,” Eby said.

Eby said lunch is better than dinner, but overall the food is not good. She said the meals generally aren’t good sources of protein, something she tries to eat a lot of.

“Sometimes they don’t even have a meat option. There’s lot of salads and a bunch of carbs, like pasta and pizza. They also switch up the pizza crust all the time, which is weird,” Eby said.

Jordan Nichols, an electrical engineering sophomore and Shocker Hall resident, said he thinks Shocker Hall food isn’t bad.

“Some of it’s good, actually, really good,” Nichols said. “Today we had mashed potatoes and corn, and I really liked it.”

Fairmount Hall resident Alyssa Marr, an international business senior, said she prefers the food offered at Fairmount than the food offered at Shocker Hall.

“There’s less options, but the food is better,” Marr said. “When I have the option, I’d definitely prefer the food at Fairmount over Shocker Hall. I have no complaints other than the fact that they close it down for lunch and over weekends.”

Alexis Woods, a dental hygiene sophomore and Fairmount resident, said she prefers Shocker Hall food over Fairmount. She said she has never eaten at Fairmount because of the smell.

“It smells awful in the Fairmount dining hall,” Woods said. “I go to Shocker Hall every day. There’s more options, though I wish they had more. I think the quality of the food depends on the day. Their grilled cheeses are pretty good, even though they have grilled cheeses nearly every day.”

WSU Dining Services general manager Sam Cross reiterated that Envision is just evaluating dining services data. He said there is an estimated timeline of six months for Envision’s results.

Cross said students have given the dining services a 91 percent overall satisfaction rate, based on previous university surveys. He said despite that there’s always opportunities to improve.

“Service, brands, hours and locations — all those things are being evaluated,” Cross said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to have someone on campus evaluating things and moving us forward.”